Lately it seems that the flashier the concept, the more it’s talked about in general. The real challenge in that is that concentrating solely on “high-level concepts” can sometimes come at the expense of basic knowledge.

On today’s podcast, we spoke with Assistant Professor Anthony Vanky of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. We discussed the importance of basic thinking skills, the pitfalls of “balkanization” on a university level, and if splashy projects do more harm than good in the long run.

“If you think about the debates that we had in rebuilding cities in the 1960s, here in the United States: we mowed down entire neighborhoods for the grand vision. And what was missing in all of that,” Vanky said.

“It’s the local knowledge of that coffee shop that was actually a community anchor. It was the neighborhood structure of how people interacted, therefore had community. So, a lot of times now, as technology is becoming more and more pervasive and more and more in our everyday conversation, and we’re starting to embed this in cities, we’re going back to that high level without some of that deeper thinking sometimes,” Vanky said.

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